US 7145244 B2
A method for reducing the topography from CMP of metal layers during the semiconductor manufacturing process is described. Small amounts of solute are introduced into the conductive metal layer before polishing, resulting in a material with electrical conductivity and electromigration properties that are very similar or superior to that of the pure metal, while having hardness that is more closely matched to that of the surrounding oxide dielectric layers. This may allow for better control of the CMP process, with less dishing and oxide erosion a result. A secondary benefit of this invention may be the elimination of superficial damage and embedded particles in the conductive layers caused by the abrasive particles in the slurries.
1. A semiconductor device comprising:
a silicon substrate;
a patterned dielectric layer on the substrate, the patterned dielectric layer having a first hardness; and
a bulk metal layer comprising copper and an oxidized metal solute, the bulk metal layer comprising a second hardness matching that of the first hardness of the pattern dielectric layer.
2. The semiconductor device of
3. The semiconductor device of
4. The semiconductor device of
This application is a Divisional of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/043,736, which is presently pending, filed Jan. 9, 2002, which claims the benefit of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/751,215 filed Dec. 29, 2000, which is hereby incorporated by reference.
1. Field of the Invention
This invention relates to semiconductor processing technology generally, and more specifically, to chemical mechanical polishing technology for planarization of deposited materials.
2. Description of the Related Art
The manufacture of an integrated circuit device requires the formation of various layers (both conductive and non-conductive) above a base substrate to form the necessary components and interconnects. During the manufacturing process, certain layers or portions of layers must be removed to form the components and interconnects. Generally, the removal is achieved chemically (etching), or chemically and mechanically (chemical mechanical polishing).
One method of removing the excess metal is through CMP as illustrated in
There are a number of ways of improving selectivity toward metals. Process parameters that are varied to improve selectivity toward metals versus dielectrics include reducing the polish pressure, optimizing the rotational and orbital speed of the polishing device, selecting the proper slurry chemistry, polish pad material, and polish pad groove geometry. However, all of these methods address the polishing side of the problem, rather than the material-choice issue for interlayer connects.
An alternative to changing processing parameters is to change the nature of the material polished. A problem associated with CMP of copper layers in semiconductors is related to the inherent softness of copper. If the copper could be hardened with little or no change in electrical or electromigration properties, process selectivity adjustments may be reduced or eliminated, thus improving process robustness and semiconductor device quality.
What is needed is an interlayer connect material for semiconductor devices that is harder than that used in the current art, allowing the use of the present polishing materials and methods, but resulting in better control of oxide erosion and dishing. This material should maintain close to the same conductivity and electromigration advantages associated with copper.
The present invention is illustrated by way of example, and not limitation, in the Figures of the accompanying drawings in which:
A method for improving the performance of the chemical-mechanical polishing (CMP) process used in polishing semiconductor interconnect layers is described. In the following description, numerous specific details are set forth such as material types, dimensions, etc., in order to provide a thorough understanding of the present invention. However, it will be obvious to one of skill in the art that the invention may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well-known elements and processing techniques have not been shown in particular detail in order to avoid unnecessarily obscuring the present invention.
A method for reducing the topography from CMP of metal layers during the semiconductor manufacturing process is described. Small amounts of solute are introduced into the conductive metal layer before polishing, resulting in a material with electrical conductivity and electromigration properties that are very similar or superior to that of the pure metal, while having hardness that is more closely matched to that of the surrounding oxide dielectric layers. This may allow for better control of the CMP process, with less copper dishing and oxide erosion as a result. A secondary benefit of this invention may be the elimination of superficial damage and embedded partides in the conductive layers caused by the abrasive partides in the slurries.
This discussion will mainly be limited to those needs associated with improving CMP performance on copper layers deposited on silicon dioxide dielectric layers. It will be recognized, however, that such focus is for descriptive purposes only and that the apparatus and methods of the present invention are applicable to other types of materials that may be used in constructing semiconductor devices.
A number of copper hardening methods are known in the art, but these are typically used for bulk copper materials rather than the thin films used in semiconductor processing. One method currently practiced for bulk copper is solid solution hardening. In this method, a small amount (typically between 0.01–5.0%) of another metallic species (also referred to as a solute) is introduced into the copper matrix. The solute atoms may take the place of the copper atoms in the normal copper matrix, or occupy interstitial sites in the crystal lattice. The solute atoms may “pin” dislocations and vacancies within the matrix, thus preventing slippage between the various atomic planes of the metal, resulting in improved mechanical properties (i.e. hardness and strength). Typical solutes used with copper solid solution strengthening are beryllium, silver, aluminum, zinc, zirconium, and chromium. Note that this list is not exhaustive and the elements listed can be used singly (i.e. binary system) or in various combinations (i.e. ternary, quarternary, and higher systems) depending on the material property that is to be enhanced.
A second hardening method, precipitation hardening, is related to the above solid solution method. In this method solute atoms are introduced during deposition of the copper matrix, as was described above. Generally, precipitation strengthened metals involve higher solute percentages compared to solid solution strengthening, 0.1–10% depending on the matrix/solute phase. In this case, however, the material is heated to allow increased solution of the solute phase into the matrix. When the heated metal is cooled, the increased solute phase, which is unstable at ambient temperatures, precipitates out as a finely dispersed solute-rich phase, which can sometimes be an intermetallic compound (e.g. CuBex). The precipitates impart higher yield strength to the metal by hindering dislocation motions in the metal lattice, resulting in a stronger and harder material. Beryllium and aluminum are two examples of possible solute species.
Thus, in another embodiment of the present invention, the matrix metal layer with the included solute atoms (beryllium, in this embodiment) 301 a is deposited as in the embodiment shown in
A third hardening technique often used in the art is oxide dispersion hardening. One method is to introduce a solute into the copper matrix, as discussed in
In a fourth embodiment, a sputtering target, used for PVD of metal layers in the semiconductor manufacturing process, can be manufactured from powder metallurgy methods known in the art to form an oxide dispersion-hardened copper, similar to that discussed in
Thus, what has been described is a method for improving chemical mechanical polishing of copper layers in semiconductor devices. Application of the inventions described may significantly reduce unwanted metal loss incurred during CMP. In addition, copper CMP process conditions may be made less stringent which may allow potential material and energy savings through reduced usage of consumables (polish pads, slurry, water, etc.)
In the foregoing detailed description, the apparatus of the present invention has been described with reference to specific exemplary embodiments thereof. It will, however, be evident that various modifications and changes may be made thereto without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the present invention. The present specification and figures are accordingly to be regarded as illustrative rather than restrictive.